One year ago I wasn’t blogging. I was still in hiding. But I was feeling the nudge to get myself back out there. I re-introduced myself with this post: What is Stronger: Love or Hate I was so vulnerable. Every time I hit the publish button I had knots in my stomach and every comment notification gave me a nervous twinge.
Today I am a blogger – though in yet another new space (I have got to stop jumping around). I don’t hide so much anymore. I think I have also learned to articulate myself better. I am still vulnerable, but I feel excited and proud when I hit publish.
One year ago I was living in the woods. We learned just how expensive space heaters can be in a drafty house. We learned how to chop wood and realized we weren’t in any way prepared for winter. We became roommates with a family of mice. But we killed them all. We had friends visit us every day and we called them Moose 1 and Moose 2. We also dealt with a multitude of squatters in the form of stinkbugs and other tiny urchins. The invasion was always scary because they hid well and were hard to kill. I think it was always worse when I found one crawling up my arm.
Today I live in the country. The house is old and a bit drafty but we have the freedom to fix that. We have central heating and zero unwanted roommates although I still find the occasional squatter. That’s just part of country life though. My house is peaceful and homey. I like it here.
One year ago everyone had their own room. The rooms were small, too small actually. Somehow I made it work.
Today all the kids share one bedroom. It’s large, with two closets and a playroom is attached. So far, they all love it. Mostly because they like to play. Although I think Michael’s highlight was the blue bunk bed set. You should have seen him “convincing” Marie that blue was the way to go! Good times.
One year ago I shared my bathroom with one other person. It was tiny. So tiny. I hated it. Don’t even get me started with the shower.
Today my bathroom is the same size and I share it with everyone else in my family plus a roommate. That is 6 people. I love it. There is only one bathroom to clean – although it gets filthy fast. We don’t shower either. We take baths. While we have a beautiful 4 claw porcelain tub, we haven’t yet forked out the cash for a shower curtain. Turns out baths are kind of gross when you watch the water drain and see all the hairs left behind….this is when it’s time to spray it down for the next person. Still, it’s been a fun challenge.
One year ago it was only my family living at my house.
Today we have a roommate. He lives a few hours away with his wife but goes to school in a small town near where we live. So for four nights out of the week we have a roommate. It’s weird sometimes. But again, it’s fun. In fact, we may be adding another body to our awesome bathroom and 3-bed room house.
One year ago we were a one car family. Actually, this was an on-again-off-again relationship. We managed to buy a second vehicle…but then something happened…and we lost it. We bought a vehicle…but then something happened…and we lost it. All of it was money related. It was frustrating but it was also something we just got used to. Life happened and all we could do was throw our hands up and scream through the ride.
Today we are a two car family. We recently bought ANOTHER truck. It’s blue for Michael and it’s a stick shift for Mr. Sexy. Now Mr. Sexy can take Michael to school in the mornings and they have their father-son bonding moments. That leaves the van at the house so I can, um, do things? I’ll be honest. I still stay home a lot.
One year ago I didn’t know how we would survive financially. I chose to ignore the finances and thought it best not to even ask about our bank account. This led to way too much surprise when I couldn’t hide any more which then resulted in anger and resentment. We felt like we were drowning in debt and chaos with no lifeline to grab onto.
Today we are surviving and even better – we are living. We are paying off debts, paying bills (some EARLY), we grocery shop at Costco and we even have extra cash for fun things like what I bought last night. ::wink wink:: God did not forget about us. He simply wanted to teach us a few thins. And we are better for it.
One year ago Marie was in public school. Because we lived in a town that shouldn’t be considered a town, Marie went to a school that was just as small. Mr. Sexy had high hopes that with a small group, we would have more input and it would be better for Marie. I did not share his sentiment. One day Marie came home with her birthday cupcakes in a mess and full of rocks. Her teachers had nothing to say about it. Zero. We dis-enrolled her the following week.
Today I home school Marie. Last semester we tried an online program and she had classes with teachers via web cam. We didn’t do that again. Instead I have my own set of lesson plans which are very basic but I believe it’s where Marie is at. Our overall goal is to set Marie up to start learning life skills: cooking, laundry, cleaning. You know, those things you need to survive.
One year ago Michael had his first sleepover. And it was with a girl! ::gasp::
Today Michael knows who he will marry. Yeah, it’s that same girl….however she has apparently told him no. Then he reminds her that they are only kids and she can change her mind when they grow up. How adorable is he?!
One year ago we didn’t have any friends. We were still new to the area and settling in. Getting into town was far away and I found it easiest to just stay home when possible. This was a Jessica I hadn’t known existed.
Today we have some dear friends who’s daughter Michael hopes to marry one day! Our friendship budded from the friendship between our kids. I can’t think of a better way to make new friends.
One year ago we had a new dog named Winnie. It turns out that you can find free animals on Craigslist constantly. She was spoiled and used to a lazy life in the city. It took a long time but she eventually figured out that legs were meant for running and houses were meant for humans.
Today we have our dog, Winnie, 4 chickens and a rooster. This past year we have gone through a lot of animals, though. We have had lots of dogs and cats, chickens and roosters that have come in and out of our lives. But Winnie is the one that stuck. She remains to be the favorite. Although our new chickens are pretty awesome.
One year ago Marie had a dry night. It was incredibly exciting. I told everybody. However it was simply a dry spell and the wet nights continued. Wet nights turned into wet days – peeing her pants and such. On purpose. It got to the point where we made her wear depends 24/7.
Today she is dry. We ran out of depends about a month ago and decided to see how things would go. She hasn’t had one accident. Not during the day and not at night. I don’t know what changed. But something sure did. I just hope it continues.
One year ago we were legally bound to take Marie to see her biological mother. S-T-R-E-S-S Marie wasn’t making an emotional connection to this woman nor did she have an inkling of who the woman was supposed to be. Marie had fun though. She likes playing games and talking to people about her favorite desserts. But Mr. Sexy and I could see what the empty promises and broken gifts did to Marie’s spirit. Marie didn’t understand her emotions. She couldn’t express them. We just had to keep chugging along.
Today the woman is allowed to call twice a week at specific times. After the counseling service demanded she be psychologically evaluated and drug tested before visitations with Marie continued, the woman left town. Again. We haven’t had to see her since. She gave up visitation for two phone calls a week. Eventually even those stopped. Marie sometimes still asks about her friend who used to call. What are we supposed to say to that? But what I’m thinking is: PRAISE GOD SHE IS GONE.
One year ago felt broken and needed to heal. That’s why God sent us to the woods. My marriage saw some of it’s darkest moments there. I felt like our family could never be whole. When one good thing happened, four bad things followed. Every turn, every road we took was met with obstacles. We were running low on hope and faith.
Today we are blessed. I trust my husband in new ways. We are starting to feel like a real family. Even on the more difficult days, I can see some hope. I hang on to faith. I can see where God might want to bring me and my family. I have learned that there is always hope. Sometimes it just takes a little more effort to see it. Or new glasses.